Ex Libris Kirkland

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First Written 2017
Genre Scifi
Origin US
Publisher MCD
ISBN-10 0374115249
ISBN-13 978-0374115241
My Copy library hardback
First Read May 10, 2017


And as usual, JVDM is a great writer - he's obscure and poetic in a way that helps you sense the alienness, the unutterable, unnamable, unmediated unprocessableness of something that's completely outside your experience and isn't particularly interested in making itself coherent to you. Unless it wants to eat you. Or just happens to eat you by accident.

Noted on June 29, 2017

If you liked Jeff Van de Meer's Southern Reach Trilogy but wished they were a bit more novel-like, or just-so-slightly more accessible: this is the book for you. I think it's honestly better than the predecessors.

JVDM keeps all the highlights: the intense weird, the aggressive alienness of his Other (the talking biotech plant/animal/blob, the city-block-sized flying bear, the unnamed disasters), but wraps it in a more understandable package. Your point of view character (Rachel, a scavenger in the wasteland of the City) is less damaged and more cognitively whole than the Southern Reach characters, or at least in ways that matter.

It's a page-turner, and set inside a satisfyingly built world. The Ruined City where the action takes place has destroyed by some unnamed Jackpot of rampant pollution, runaway biotechnology, and climate change. But despite the pileup of ho-hum apocalypse causes, the world seems like one that I'm curious about. JVDM does a great job of putting the action within a larger cultural context: Our heroes are operating on the fringes of a larger war, a battle for territory between the Magician, the Company, Mord (the cruise-ship-sized flying bear), and more.

Noted on June 29, 2017

That's the problem with people who are not human. You can't tell how badly they're hurt, or how much they need your help, and until you ask, they don't always know how to tell you.

Quoted on June 29, 2017

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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